In the spring, Legendary Restaurant Brands will reintroduce Steak and Ale with an opening in Cancun, Quintana Roo, Mexico, with more locations in the master development agreement yet to be announced. There are also deals inked for India and Australia and discussions happening stateside. Steak and Ale, also founded by Brinker, debuted in 1966 and closed its remaining 58 locations in 2008 as part of a Chapter 7 bankruptcy proceeding. The brand’s return has been discussed for the last couple of years and, as it nears reality, Mangiamele isn’t holding back.
“I’m taking dead aim—and I haven’t been really shy about it—dead aim at the lapsed Outback guests. They’re looking for an alternative,” he says. “… I’m taking dead aim at an affordable, family-friendly—which people seem to forget about families these days—steakhouse. I don’t see many in the space that are really paying attention to that family-friendly aspect and I think that’s another very important success ingredient for my brands.”
And Steak and Ale isn’t the only redesigned prototype with a reinvigorated pulse. Bennigan’s fast casual spin off, Bennigan’s on the Fly, is ready to reenter the landscape as well. Mangiamele says they’re talking to airports, international developers, and exploring an opportunity in Las Vegas. Like Steak and Ale, he sees the introduction as just the opening act. “We are ready for our close-up,” he says.
Meanwhile, Legendary Restaurant Brands continues to strengthen its core brand. Mangiamele says repositioning Bennigan’s “from an operations standpoint, from a prototypical standpoint, and from a menu standpoint,” took around six years. Bennigan’s has units in Sacramento, California, Lexington, Kentucky, Jackson, Tennessee, and Monahans, Texas, currently under construction for 2017, as well as international locations in Qatar and Bahrain.